My Power Edge server is more than 3 years old. Even though it has worked perfectly so far, I am concerned that the hard drives might be approaching their end of life (in my experience they tend to fail in 3 to 6 years of usage). Trying to be proactive, I want to swap them out with new ones:
1) What is the process to change the drives while keeping the files on them? My Power Edge R310 has two mirrored drives.
2) Can I use higher capacity drives? The current drives are 1TB each. I'd like to swap them out with 2 TB drives to increase network storage capacity.
There really isn't an End of Life on drives, as they are all used differently. I would suggest that if you want to ensure longevity of the server and to work proactively would be to make certain that the server is kept up to date with its BIOS and other firmware. Now if the server is already substantially behind in updates then you may have to walk some up to current, as jumping large numbers of updates can cause irreversible issues.
Now with swapping the drives out for larger ones, you can do this on specific Raid controllers, but it will not expand the space on the existing Virtual Disks, it will create space outside of the Virtual Disk that you can then use to create a second new Virtual Disk. Doing this is convenient but does have possible redundancy issues that could occur down the line. It is recommended, but vastly more time consuming, to Backup the data - delete the Virtual Disk - recreate the Virtual Disk with new larger drives - reinstall the OS - then restore the data from backup. That is going to be the supported route, as well as more stable and redundant in the long run. Regardless of what you decide, it is a good idea to get an backup prior to doing anything.
That's good news and bad news. The bad news is that I didn't even know we're supposed to be updating the BIOS on the server, so we haven't done anything like that on it. We still have an active Dell support agreement on the server. Is this something Dell techs would do?
It's like oil changes, rotating tires, flushing transmission, etc. ... updating firmware on servers is part of suggested maintenance for your servers. Not doing so will probably eventually cause you problems that the updates were intended to fix. The updates range from optional/good practice to critical and can address issues that can actually damage hardware or lead to data loss.
Dell Support can run the updates for you, but it is just a matter of downloading the file, then double-clicking it to run. Some of the update are done outside of the OS though, so while they can walk you through the process, they can't do it for you.
Where are you at on you BIOS, Drac, and Raid controller driver and firmware? It can give us an idea of what where you are, and the updates needed to proceed.